Beautifully engraved SPECIMEN certificate from Pillsbury Flour Mills, Inc.
dated 1923. This historic document was printed by the American Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an angelic woman and man on both sides of the company's logo. This item is
over 90 years old. This is the first time we have had this certificate for sale. 20 coupons attached on right side with the printed signature of the Treasurer, A. Pillsbury.
Pillsbury is a brand name used by Minneapolis-based General Mills and Orrville, Ohio-based J.M. Smucker Company. Historically, the Pillsbury Company, also based in Minneapolis, was a rival company to General Mills and was one of the world's largest producers of grain and other foodstuffs until it was bought-out by General Mills in 2001. Antitrust law required General Mills to sell off some of the products. General Mills kept the rights to refrigerated and frozen Pillsbury products, while dry baking products and frosting are now sold by Smucker under license.
Leo Burnett who created Pillsbury's Doughboy and Jolly Green Giant considers them two of the agency's top five brand icons.
The C.A. Pillsbury and Company was founded in 1872 by Charles Alfred Pillsbury and his uncle John Sargent Pillsbury. The company was the first in the United States to use steel rollers for processing grain. The finished product required transportation, so the Pillsburys assisted in funding railroad development in Minnesota.
In 1889, Pillsbury and its five mills on the banks of the Mississippi River were purchased by a British company. The company also tried to purchase and merge with the Washburn Crosby Company (a precursor of General Mills), but the strong rivalry prevented any merger from happening at the time.
In 1923, the Pillsbury family reacquired the Pillsbury-Washburn Flour Mills Company, Ltd. (Pillsbury Flour Mills Company).
Only seven products used the Pillsbury name in 1950, but the company began adding to its product line. The early 1950s brought the acquisition of Ballard & Ballard Company and the beginning of prepackaged biscuit dough. Later acquisitions included restaurants such as Burger King, Steak and Ale, Bennigan's, Godfather's Pizza, Häagen-Dazs and Quik Wok, plus popular grocery store food brands such as Green Giant.
In the 1960s, Pillsbury added Sweet* 10 made with cyclamate, which became the most popular artificial sweetener. In 1964, Pillsbury introduced Funny Face Drink Mix with the names Goofy Grape, Rootin' Tootin' Raspberry, Freckle Face Strawberry, Loud Mouth Lime, Chinese Cherry (later Choo-Choo Cherry), and Injun Orange (later Jolly Olly Orange). Lefty Lemon followed in 1965, along with other flavors. When cyclamate was banned, Sweet* 10 and Funny Face had to be dropped, resulting in a $4.5 million loss. Both products were re-introduced after changes, and the drinks became available sweetened and unsweetened.
Another drink mix introduced in the 1960s was Moo Juice, a flavored powder combined with milk in a shaker to produce a milkshake. Its TV commercial featured a talking animation of the product's cartoon cow head mascot. This was voiced by Frank Fontaine, who was familiar at that time as Crazy Guggenheim in The Jackie Gleason Show's "Joe the Bartender" skits. Moo Juice was short-lived, as its milkshakes tended to be thin compared to similar products such as Borden's Frosted and Birds Eye's Thick and Frosty.
That decade, Pillsbury also created Space Food Sticks to capitalize on the popularity of the space program. Space Food Sticks were developed by Robert Muller, the inventor of the HACCP standards used by the food industry to insure food safety.
In 1989, the British company Grand Metropolitan (later Diageo) purchased the food maker, and during this ownership period the company divested itself of all production and distribution facilities (contracting these functions to other companies), making itself simply a marketing entity for its own brands (Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Totino's, etc.).
In 2001, Pillsbury merged with its old rival General Mills. However, the baking products division was sold to International Multifoods Corporation, which was later acquired by Smucker's. Pillsbury sold all of their restaurant brands and exited the business completely by the late 1990s.
Pillsbury once claimed to have the largest grain mill in the world at the Pillsbury "A" Mill overlooking Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. The building had two of the most powerful direct-drive waterwheels ever built, each putting out 1200 horsepower (900 kW).
Flour mills began to be established in the town of Minneapolis in the mid-1850s. Powered by St. Anthony Falls, the mills were supplied with rapidly increasing crops of wheat grown by new settlers in western and southern Minnesota and the Dakotas. Railroads began linking Minneapolis to the west in the late 1860s. The number of Minneapolis flour mills grew rapidly.
A few things kept the Minneapolis mills from competing successfully with flour mills in other parts of the country, however. When flour was made from the hard spring wheat of the Northern Plains using conventional milling techniques, it was discolored and speckled with particles of husk or bran, and it did not keep well. In addition, conventional mill stones destroyed much of the most nutritious part of the wheat kernel.
In the 1860s and 1870s, the millers solved these problems. They developed a process that made it possible to separate the nourishing "middlings" layer of the wheat kernel, process it, and return it to the flour. A second innovation replaced conventional millstones with large chilled porcelain or iron rollers that ran at a lower speed. This prevented discoloration due to heat and minimized the crushed husk and bran that speckled the flour. By the late 1870s Minneapolis flour was recognized as the best in the nation, and it quickly replaced winter-wheat flour in both national and international markets. The mills located on the west bank of the Mississippi made that area the nation's leading flour center.
The Pillsbury Company completed its gigantic A Mill on the east side of the river in 1880. Containing two identical units, it had a capacity of 4000 barrels of flour a day when it opened. By 1905 the mill had tripled its output. Its owners claimed that it was the largest flour mill in the world. Over the years numerous buildings were added to the complex, including a grain storage elevator built in 1910 and linked to the mill by conveyors, another elevator and annex built between 1914 and 1916, and a cleaning house and nine-story warehouse built in 1917. The Pillsbury A Mill is the only mill still operating in the St. Anthony Falls milling district.
Tremendous consolidation took place within the flour industry between 1880 and 1900, as numerous mergers occurred. In 1876, 17 firms operated 20 mills; in 1890, four large corporations produced almost all of the flour made in Minnesota. By the early 1900s, three corporations based in Minneapolis controlled 97 percent of the nation's flour production. They were Washburn-Crosby Company, which became General Mills; Pillsbury-Washburn Flour Mills Company, which became Pillsbury Flour Mills Company; and Northwestern Consolidated Milling Company, which became the Standard Milling Company. This Minneapolis "Flour Trust" dominated the national flour market until the 1930s.
History from Wikipedia, U.S. National Park Service and
stock certificate research service)
About Specimen Certificates
Specimen Certificates are actual certificates that have never been issued. They were usually kept by the printers in their permanent archives as their only example of a particular certificate. Sometimes you will see a hand stamp on the certificate that says "Do not remove from file".
Specimens were also used to show prospective clients different types of certificate designs that were available. Specimen certificates are usually much scarcer than issued certificates. In fact, many times they are the only way to get a certificate for a particular company because the issued certificates were redeemed and destroyed. In a few instances, Specimen certificates were made for a company but were never used because a different design was chosen by the company.
These certificates are normally stamped "Specimen" or they have small holes spelling the word specimen. Most of the time they don't have a serial number, or they have a serial number of 00000. This is an exciting sector of the hobby that has grown in popularity over the past several years.